Moneysupermarket plots usage for growth

Price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com is deploying an enterprise management and monitoring system to track system availability and better understand the experience of its users.

Price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com is deploying an enterprise management and monitoring system to track system availability and better understand the experience of its users.

This follows the company’s decision to expand its IT infrastructure to keep pace with a ninefold increase in site traffic since 2003. In that period it has deployed IBM eServer Bladecenter technology and now runs 108 IBM HS20 blades in its live environment and 20 HS20 blades for the development side of the business.

With the IBM blade infrastructure in place (a further 28 blades are due be installed next month), Jonathan Smith, Moneysupermarket.com’s head of IT services, said the business wanted to improve the monitoring of the overall IT environment and its effectiveness for users.

In recent years the firm has extended the scope of its business model to take in dynamically priced products, such as insurance and flights, in addition to fixed-priced financial products.

The prices are collected for site users by running automated screen-scraping technology to take a customer query and undertake a real-time sweep of relevant sites to pick up the necessary price and product data for display.

Smith said the scale and complexity of the technology needed to run the site meant it was crucial to gain a better understanding of its strengths and weaknesses, as well as the effectiveness of the back-end systems.

Moneysupermarket.com has rolled out IBM’s Tivoli Business Automation software to monitor its systems. Smith said a fuller picture would be built up over the months ahead based on testing, particularly in the area of the site’s online transactions.

“We chose Tivoli Business Automation over the competitors because of the strength of its transaction monitoring,” said Smith. “It will let us, on a scheduled basis, track an end-to-end transaction through the website, complete with performance metrics for every stage of the process. This is where we are looking to make a difference.”

“Alongside this capability the software will provide detailed information on how our service is running, show key performance indicators about user experience and demonstrate the capacities of our various systems and their levels of usage.

He added, “Tivoli will help us better understand how to use our technology estate, enabling more informed decisions about capacity planning and growth.”

 

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